“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
A prison system in Philadelphia, developed by the Quakers, introduced solitary confinement as a new concept in 1829 for it’s worst prisoners. Charles Dickens who visited the prison described the “slow tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body”. Why is Solitary Confinement such a devastating punishment? Because man was made for fellowship and relationship! Only one part of God’s creation was designated as “not good” by God: “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18). And it is still not good for man to be alone.
But it is possible to co-exist with many people in your neighbourhood or in your high-rise and yet to feel very much alone. With today’s technology, we can connect with people on the other side of the world in seconds, but we often fail to connect in a meaningful way with the people God has placed right around us. And as the verse above suggests, there are two specific occasions when the gift of fellowship and companionship is especially meaningful: in times of rejoicing and in times of weeping! Our joys are indeed multiplied when they are shared with others! That is why we desire others to see the sunset that we so admired!
But it is incumbent upon us, especially as brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ, also to weep with those who weep! There is a measure of brokenness in every one of us, and in every one of our homes. Grief is the common lot of every human being. In this past week alone, some in this church have lost a job, some have had the health scare of a lifetime within their family, others have had to deal with the ongoing weary struggle of a less-than-ideal marriage. And in a church this size, undoubtedly there are many more unreported reasons for weeping! Everyone of us faces the uncertainty of the future! But oh how treasured is the hand that stoops to dry the tears of a fellow weary pilgrim. Joys shared are joys multiplied, but sorrows shared are sorrows divided! Heaven will wipe away every tear, but until then, may God find us loving one another deeply from the heart, and making every effort to see to it that no one has to run the race alone!